The Next Iron Chef season 3 week 5 aired Sunday night, and featured the remaining hopefuls as they tackled the theme of the day: Respect. While Chefs Tsai and Canora cemented their positions as frontrunners for Food Network greatness, Chef Maneet Chauhan faltered again and was issued a ticket home. Here’s a recap.
Host Alton Brown greeted the six contestants and immediately revealed a military truck stuffed to the brim with a colorful array of potatoes. A 45-minute battle ensued, which challenged the chefs to create a dish that showed respect for said lowly potato. Here’s a rundown of who created what:
Chef Tsai: Sweet Potato Risotto
Chef Canora: Butter Poached Potatoes
Chef Tio: Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Terrine
Chef Chauhan: Potato Ravioli with Lemon Grass Sauce
Chef Caswell: Truffle Tater Tot in Potato Vinaigrette
Chef Forgione: Gnudi with Potato Brown Butter
Per the usual Next Iron Chef routine, the contestants were charged with choosing the best and worst of the bunch, but as an added twist, the visiting Lieutenant Colonel Barnes also tossed in a vote of his own. Here’s a glance at the vote tally by chef:
Chef Tsai: Favorite, Chef Canora Least Successful, Chef Forgione
Chef Chauhan: Favorite, Chef Canora, Least Successful, Chef Forgione
Chef Tio: Favorite, Chef Canora, Least Successful, Chef Forgione
Chef Forgione: Favorite Chef Chauhan, Least Successful, Chef Forgione
Chef Canora: Favorite, Chef Chauhan, Least Successful, Chef Tio
Chef Caswell: Favorite, Chef Chauhan, Least Successful Chef Forgione
The Lieutentant Colonel was given the gift of breaking the tie, and went with Chef Canora’s dish. Poor Chef Chauhan, she was so close! After watching The Next Iron Chef season 3 thus far, I’m not a fan of Chef Canora’s. I get that it’s a competition, but well, he’s been something of a jerk at times. But anyway, there’s much more cooking drama to rehash.
The six chefs arrived in the kitchen for the week’s 90-minute Chairman’s Challenge, and were shown a video from Mark Dacascos. Alton went on to tell them that they’d be cooking four dishes to “show respect for American bounty”. They were told to create a dish representing four different American regions: North, South, East and West. As the winner of the previous challenge, Chef Canora was given the right to select ingredients 90 seconds before anyone else could begin. As the challenge loser, Chef Forgione endured an additional 60-second start penalty.
Chef Tio in particular struggled with the time constraints, burning both her rice and butterscotch sauce. Chef Tsai, as a veteran of TV cooking, seemed more relaxed and focused as the clock ticked.
Up first to face the judging panel first on The Next Iron Chef season 3 week 5 was Chef Chauhan, who claimed that she’d focused on “real simple comfort foods”. Donatella commented that her clam chowder was a bit gritty, while guest judge Jose Garzas criticized her choice to serve a dish in an avocado shell. Chef Tsai took to the table next, confident that he’d not overdone it this week. Chef Garzas called his gazpacho “refreshing”, while Simon noted that “aspects” of all of the dishes were excellent.
The critiques continued with Chef Canora. Simon praised his lamb dish as “so perfectly cooked” while Donatella noted that another of his dishes was too salty. Chef Tio earned praise from Chef Garzas for her “tender” pot roast, but criticism for a dry butterscotch cake from Donatella. Chef Caswell garnered good comments for his waldorf salad and collard greens. Last up to present was Chef Forgione, who bucked the guidelines by creating 5 dishes rather than 4. Chef Garzas called his chicken salad “delicious”, but Donatella criticized his clam chowder and Simon called his halibut “almost inedible”.
So who gets the boot at the close of The Next Iron Chef Respect week?
Alton began the elimination round by revealing that the five surviving chefs would be continuing the competition in Las Vegas next week. He then revealed that Chefs Tsai and Canora had risen to the top, but that Chef Tsai had won the Challenge. Chef Tio then passed to the next round, followed by Chef Caswell, leaving Chefs Chauhan and Forgione up for elimination. The judges criticized Chef Forgione for not sticking with just his collard greens and foregoing the bad fish, while Chef Chauhan took heat for her plating. When all was said and done, Chef Chauhan was booted from The Next Iron Chef season 3, leaving an apparently stunned Chef Forgione to cook again another day.
Tune in next week to The Next Iron Chef season 3 for a sixth week of supercharged Food Network cooking action.
The Next Iron Chef season 3 week 5, Food Network, October 31, 2010